Market Update: U.S. Stocks Under Pressure Following Trump-Putin Summit as Oil Prices Hit Three-Month Low

U.S. stocks finished mixed to lower on Monday, with sectors tied to commodities shouldering the majority of the losses following a major rout in oil prices.

Stocks Mostly Lower

The large-cap S&P 500 Index fell 0.1% to close at 2,798.43, with eight of 11 primary sectors finishing in the red.

Energy stocks were the worst performers, falling 1.2% as a cluster, as oil prices plunged to their lowest levels in three months. Materials and industrials followed suit.

Declining technology shares bumped the Nasdaq Composite Index from all-time highs. The index closed down 0.3% at 7,805.72.

Dow industrials bucked the downtrend, gaining 44.95 points, or 0.2%, to 25,064.36.

The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, jumped more than 5% on Monday to close at 12.83. The so-called “fear index” briefly traded at six-month lows on Friday.

Trump-Putin Summit a “Good Start”

U.S. President Donald Trump says his meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was a “good start” in normalizing strained relations between the two superpowers.

Prior to the meeting, President Trump blamed previous administrations for the worsening relationship between both countries. Trump doubled-down on that message in a joint session following the meeting.

“I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office,” Trump said.

Although it’s not entirely clear what the two leaders talked about, various news sources have confirmed that talks went into a working lunch after two hours of closed-door talks. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed that the meeting had no set agenda.

Many within the Washington camp wanted the meeting to be cancelled after 12 Russian military agents were charged with hacking the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Cryptocurrency Market Recovers

Bitcoin and other crypto-assets swung back into positive territory Monday amid reports that BlackRock, one of the world’s largest asset managers, has assembled a working group to explore digital currency adoption.

Cryptocurrencies added $15 billion in market capitalization over 24 hours, with the bulk of the gains occurring shortly after the BlackRock report hit the airwaves. The total market peaked near $271 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, as trade volumes spiked 34% to $13.8 billion.

The bitcoin price reached a high near $6,690 as trade volumes topped $4.9 billion. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is closing in on last weekend’s swing high near $6,900. Prices have failed to breakout of the $7,000 ceiling in well over a month.

In terms of percentage growth, bitcoin cash was the best performer in the top-ten, rising 9.5% to $795.

Ethereum prices jumped 5.6% to $477 while EOS gained 8% to $8.02.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi

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